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UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2023-24, Download Subject Wise PDF

UPSC Prelims Syllabus

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024: The Civil Service Exam is held annually by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for renowned positions in the Government of India, such as IAS, IPS, IFS, and IRS etc. Candidates must pass three stages of the exam i.e., Prelims, Mains and Interview Round to be recruited for these positions. The UPSC Prelims Exam is divided into two papers: General Studies Paper and CSAT. The candidates must pass the Prelims Exam in order to be qualified for the UPSC Mains Exam, even though the marks earned in the UPSC Prelims 2023 will not be included in the final merit list.

We have covered the entire UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2023 in this article to assist you in planning your study strategy. It helps to create confidence and makes it simple for the aspirant to plan a strategy for passing the UPSC Prelims exam if a candidate is familiar with the detailed Syllabus for UPSC Prelims exam. On May 28, 2023, the UPSC CSE preliminary examination will be held.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024: Overview

Candidates who are preparing for UPSC examination need to know the syllabus of both preliminary and mains examination. UPSC Prelims examination is the initial stage of the exam and is objective in nature. In this article we have provided the detailed syllabus of the Preliminary examination. Check the overview of the Prelims examination below in the table:

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2023 Overview
Category UPSC Prelims Syllabus
Exam Date 26th May 2024
Number of Papers Two Papers

  • General Studies – 1 &
  • General Studies – 2 (CSAT)
Types of Questions Multiple Choice Questions (Objective Type)
Duration of Exam 2 hours each
Total Marks 200 marks for each paper (Total of 400 marks)
Language of Exam English & Hindi
Negative Marking  1/3rd mark for every wrong answers
Marks Counted in Merit No

UPSC Prelims 2023 Syllabus Subject-wise

The detailed UPSC Syllabus is available in this section. Candidates can review the complete General Studies (Paper I) and CSAT (Paper II) Syllabus subject-wise and start preparing for the UPSC CSE 2023.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for GS Paper 1

The first paper of the UPSC Prelims Exam is General Studies 1 (GS-1) which includes Geography, History, Art & Culture, Polity, Economy, Environment & Ecology, General Science, Science & Technology and Current Affairs.

Geography Syllabus for UPSC Prelims

Oceanography, Climatology, Physiography of India, Soils in India etc. are important topics for the UPSC exam. For topic-wise detailed coverage of the Geography UPSC Prelims Syllabus refer to the below table:

Geography UPSC Prelims Syllabus
Fundamentals of Geography (Physical Geography) Principles of Indian Geography
General Geography

  • Universe
  • Earth Evolution


  • Earth’s Interior
  • Geology and Rock System
  • Geomorphic Process
  • Earthquakes and Volcanism
  • Distribution of Continents and Oceans
  • Landforms and their evolution
  • Landforms across the world


  • Hydrosphere
  • Submarine Relief Features
  • Temperature and Salinity
  • Waves, Oceans, Currents, Tides
  • Marine Resources
  • Ocean, Deposits and Corals


  • Atmosphere
  • Inversion of Temperature
  • Insolation and Heat Budget
  • Air Mass, Fronts, Cyclones and Jet Streams
  • Wind and Pressure Belts
  • Precipitation
  • Climate Zones of the World

Bio Geography

  • Soil Characteristics
  • Vegetation Resources

Human and Economic Geography

  • Demography and Census
  • Human Development
  • Economic Activities
  • Transport and Communication
  • International Trade
  • Settlement
Indian Geography

  • Physiography of India
  • Drainage System
  • Climate
  • Soils in India
  • Natural Vegetation
  • Population
  • Settlements and Urbanization
  • Land Resource
  • Mineral Resource
  • Energy Resource
  • Agriculture and Basic Terminology
  • Recent development in agriculture
  • Productivity of Crops
  • Industry
  • Transport
  • Recent developments in Industry and Transport

World Regional Geography

  • Continents, Countries, and Cities
  • Location in News

History Syllabus for UPSC Prelims

Ancient History, Medieval History and Modern History are the major categorizations of Indian History. Every section has its own importance to understand the chronology of Indian History thoroughly. Out of these, Modern History has its own importance as per the past UPSC trends. For topic-wise detailed coverage of the History Syllabus for UPSC Prelims refers to the below table:

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for History
Ancient History Medieval History Modern History
  • Pre-Historic Times
  • Indus Valley Civilization
  • Rig Vedic Period
  • Later Vedic Period
  • Jainism
  • Buddhism
  • Mahajanpadas
  • Mauryan Empire
  • Post-Mauryan Period
  • Gupta Period
  • Harshwardhana Period
  • Sangam Period (South-Indian Dynasties)
  • Famous Early Medieval Indian Dynasties (Pallavas, Pratiharas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas)
  • Cholas and South Indian Kingdoms
  • Early Muslim Invasions
  • The Delhi Sultanate
  • Afghans, Rajputs & Mughals
  • Establishment of the North-Indian Empire
  • The Mughal Empire
  • Marathas and the Other Indian States
  • The decline of the Mughal Empire
  • Vijaynagar Empire
  • Advent of Europeans
  • British Expansion
  • Administration before 1857
  • Economic Policies of the British
  • Impact of British Administration
  • Revolt of 1857
  • Administrative Changes after 1857
  • Development of Civil Services
  • Development of Education
  • Development of Press
  • Socio-Religious Reforms
  • Peasant Movements
  • Revolutionary Nationalism
  • Indian National Movement-I (1905-1918)
  • Indian National Movement-II (1918-1929)
  • Indian National Movement-III (1930-1947)
  • Governors-General and Viceroys of India
  • Constitutional Development of Indian

Art & Culture Syllabus for UPSC Prelims

Architecture, Classical dance forms, Folk dance forms, Mural Painting, Miniature Paintings etc. are important topics for the UPSC exam. For topic-wise detailed coverage of the Art & Culture UPSC Prelims Syllabus refer to the below table:

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for Art & Culture
  • Architecture
  • Sculpture
  • Paintings (Mural & Miniature)
  • Pottery Tradition
  • Numismatics
  • Performing Arts (Dance, Music, Theater, Martial Arts)
  • Religion and Literature
  • National and Regional Festivals

Environment Syllabus for UPSC Prelims

Ecosystems, Biodiversity, Mangroves, Coral Reefs, Climate Change etc. are important topics for the UPSC exam. For topic-wise detailed coverage of the Environment UPSC Prelims Syllabus refer to the below table:

Environment UPSC Prelims Syllabus
Environment & Ecology Biodiversity
  • Origin of Life Forms
  • Basic Concepts of Ecology
  • Ecosystem Functions
  • Population Ecology
  • Adaptation of Species and Interactions
  • Terrestrial Ecosystem
  • Aquatic Ecosystem
  • Nutrient Cycling
  • Basics of Biodiversity
  • Animal and Plant Diversity
  • Threats to Biodiversity
  • Biodiversity Conservation
  • Estuaries
  • Mangroves
  • Coral Reefs
  • Wetlands
  • Resource Degradation and Management
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Governance

Polity Syllabus for UPSC Prelims

Fundamental Rights, DPSPs, Fundamental Duties, Judiciary, CAG, Attorney General of India etc. are important topics for the UPSC exam. For topic-wise detailed coverage of the Polity UPSC Prelims Syllabus refer to the below table:

Polity UPSC Prelims Syllabus
  • Evolution of the Consitution
  • Salient Features of the Indian Constitution
  • Union Territories
  • Citizenship
  • Fundamental Rights
  • Directive Principles of State Policy
  • Fundamental Duties
  • System of Governance
  • Union Executive
  • Union Legislature
  • State Executive
  • State Legislature
  • Local Government
  • UT and Special Areas
  • Judiciary
  • Constitutional & Non-Constitutional Bodies
  • Political Dynamics (Political Parties, Elections, Pressure Groups)
  • Governance
  • International Relations

Economy Syllabus for UPSC Prelims

Money & Banking, Monetary Policy, Fiscal Policy, Inflation, Five-year plans, etc. are important topics for the UPSC exam. For topic-wise detailed coverage of the Economy UPSC Prelims Syllabus refer to the below table:

Basic Concepts

  • Macroeconomic Concepts
  • Microeconomic Concepts

Economic Measurements

  • National Income & Its Calculation
  • Economic Growth and Development
  • Inflation

Money & Banking

  • Money Function & Classification
  • Financial Markets & Its Instruments
  • Banking Structure in India

Public Finance in India

  • Budgeting
  • Fiscal Policy
  • Centre-state Distribution
  • Tax Structure in India

  • Meaning, Objective & History
  • Planning Institutions
  • Five-Year Plans in India
  • NITI Aayog

Open Economy

  • Foreign Trade Concepts
  • International Organizations
  • Trade Agreements
  • Recent Development

Economic Sectors

  • Poverty
  • Employment and Unemployment
  • Government Schemes and Programmes

General Science Syllabus for UPSC Prelims

Science & Technology, Defence, Space, Biology, Basic Physics concepts, Biotechnology etc. are important topics for the UPSC exam. For topic-wise detailed coverage of the General Science UPSC Prelims Syllabus refers to the below table:

General Science Syllabus for UPSC Prelims
  • Science & Technology in India
  • Space
  • IT and Communication
  • Materials, Nano Technology and Robotics
  • Defence
  • Nuclear Technology
  • Intellectual Property Rights and Other Miscellaneous Issues
  • Biotechnology

CSAT Syllabus for UPSC Prelims

The following main categories comprise the UPSC Prelims CSAT Syllabus that has been mentioned in the UPSC’s notification:

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numerical skills (orders of magnitude, numbers & their relations, etc.) (Class X level)
  • Data Interpretation (graphs, charts, tables, data sufficiency etc.) (Class X level).

Check Out the Indian Polity Notes

UPSC Prelims Syllabus PDF

Here is the complete UPSC Prelims Syllabus PDF:

UPSC Prelims Syllabus

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern 2023

Candidates should thoroughly understand the UPSC CSE (Civil Service Examination) exam pattern before referring to the UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024. The UPSC Prelims exam has two papers. General Studies (GS) is the first paper for the UPSC prelims test, and CSAT is the second paper. The Civil Services Aptitude Test is sometimes referred to as CSAT.

UPSC IAS Prelims Exam Pattern
Paper Subject Marks No. of Question Duration
I General Studies 1 (GS-1) 200 100 2 hours
II General Studies 1 (GS-1) CSAT 200 80 2 hours

Important Facts about UPSC Prelims Exam

  • For each incorrectly marked answer, one-third of a mark is deducted; however, no marks are deducted for questions that go unanswered.
  • For General Studies (Paper I), candidates earn marks for the correct answer and 0.66 is deducted for each incorrect answer.
  • Candidates will be awarded 2.5 marks for each correct answer on CSAT (Paper-II), and 0.833 marks will be deducted for each incorrect answer. This paper will be qualifying in nature with a fixed minimum qualifying mark of 33%.
  • The Prelims exam marks won’t be counted into the final score (merit list).
  • The General Studies exam is organized in the morning shift and CSAT (GS Paper 2) in the evening shift on the same day.

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UPSC Prelims Syllabus FAQs

What is U{PSC Prelims Syllabus?

The first paper of the UPSC Prelims Exam is General Studies 1 (GS-1) which includes Geography, History, Art & Culture, Polity, Economy, Environment & Ecology, General Science, Science & Technology and Current Affairs and Paper 2 CSAT is based on aptitude & comprehensions.

Is Ncert sufficient for UPSC Prelims?

For the IAS examination, NCERT books are essential. However, candidates should also read other relevant books that are necessary for value addition.

How many books are in UPSC Prelims?

There is no fixed number of books. NCERT is mandatory to start the preparation but some other books are also required to enhance the knowledge and sometimes it depends on your educational background and understanding of the specific subjects.

Can I qualify for IAS without coaching?

Yes, it is possible to pass the IAS exam without coaching. It depends on how well he or she studies and how serious & consistent the preparation is. Without any coaching, you can crack the UPSC CSE if you are proficient in self-study.

How many papers are in UPSC prelims?

There are 2 papers in the UPSC prelims exam one is General Studies (Paper 1) and the other is CSAT (Paper 2).

What are the subjects in prelims UPSC?

Geography, History, Art & Culture, Polity, Economy, Environment & Ecology, General Science, Science & Technology and Current Affairs are the subjects in the UPSC Prelims exam.

What are the passing marks for prelims?

UPSC Prelims exam has 2 papers: General Studies Paper I marks should be above the cut-off marks that are decided by the commission and Paper 2 CSAT is a qualifying paper that requires a minimum of 33%.

Do prelims marks matter?

Yes, prelims marks matter a lot because it is an entry gate to enter the UPSC mains exam journey. 

Is 2 months enough for UPSC Prelims?

Many IAS hopefuls might be wondering if it is possible to crack the UPSC Prelims in just 60 days. The answer is a resounding YES.

What are the 5 compulsory subjects in UPSC?

History, geography, Indian politics and government, general science, and economic and social development are all compulsory subjects.

Which degree is best for UPSC?

According to the data, the best graduate degree for the UPSC IAS is a Bachelor of Arts degree.

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